PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An Amity couple says they’re lucky to be okay after getting stuck in the snow for more than a day out in the Siuslaw National Forest.
The couple was rescued Wednesday as members of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office and Public Works worked much of the day to get to the stranded couple. The couple was driving back home from the coast on Tuesday when they detoured to see the South Lake campground. Conditions quickly started to get worse, leaving them stuck with nowhere to go.
“Attempted to turn around and got really stuck. By that point, we were already soaked to the bone,” said Cyle Moore. “Everything I had dug out, it took me hours to dig out and was basically just recoated in snow.”
Moore and Seantille Smith ran out of gas and just as quickly as they would try to clear the snow out, it would come down even heavier.
Despite limited signal, they were able to get through to 911 later that night.
“The officer said there was a winter advisory going on because there was snow in the valley,” said Smith. “We didn’t even know because we were coming from the coast.”
The Yamhill Co. Sheriff’s Office tried to go out that night but weren’t able to get through the road. With multiple trees down and heavy snow showing no sign of stopping, they needed the help of Public Works the next morning.
“Where we initially went in, there was roughly 8 inches of snow, and where they were located, there was about 36 inches of snow,” said Sgt. Sam Elliott with the Yamhill Co. Sheriff’s Office. “Just the distance that they were back in there, roughly 15 miles, with the grader working to clear that snow, it took roughly 9 hours for us to get back there to them.”
By the time crews reached them Wednesday afternoon, the couple and their cat had been out there around 24 hours, with just a propane tank to keep warm and limited food.
“He was starting to think about the fact that if we were there any longer, we could freeze to death or starve to death,” said Smith.
Sgt. Elliott says it’s rare to have this kind of scenario this late in the year. However, it serves as a good reminder to keep your guard up in the mountains.
“It’s not unusual for us to get calls about people stranded in the snow. It is unusual to be the middle of April and getting a call,” said Elliott. “They were provisioned enough, that gave us the time to bring those extra resources in.”
As for Moore and Smith, they’re just happy to be home, Moore adding, “I was definitely pretty glad to see the officer.”
The Yamhill Co. Sheriff’s Office says it’s important to keep supplies and food in your car, and always keep an eye out as to where exactly you are when traveling.